Happy International Women’s Day! It’s March 8th 2018, a day to celebrate all women.

The best way to celebrate women is to use your skills, abilities and opportunities to help and empower other women, especially those less fortunate than yourself.

All around the world there are women living in poverty, forced into the sex trade, sold into marriages to men decades older than themselves, owned by men, beaten, given no human rights, given no opportunity to have an education, marginalized, stranded in refugee camps, trying to raise their children in war zones, watching their babies die from easily treatable illnesses – the list goes on.

If you don’t fall into any of the categories above, congratulate yourself on your good fortune and then do something to help.

When you empower another woman you help build a better world for all of us to live in.

Every now and then a girl need to reinvent herself. To shed the skin of her former self and write a new rule book for life” ~ Cara Alwill Leyba, Style Your Mind

10 Ways To Empower All Women

How To Empower Women

Volunteer.

You have time so use it to help others. Volunteering to help other women on any level helps both them and you. Help out at abused women’s shelters, help homeless women, help the disabled. Read to old people, take food to the infirm. When you start searching there are endless ways to volunteer and make a difference in the lives of women less fortunate than yourself.

Donate.

Give until it hurts. Pack up clothes and household goods that are not being used and donate them to Goodwill. Buy non-perishable food items and donate them to a food bank. Find female centric charities and write them a check. Give and give and give and you will receive and receive and receive.

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Sponsor.

Find a girl child to sponsor. There are so many countries in this world where by virtue of being a girl a child is unable to get an education. Whether you find a girl child to sponsor in sub Saharan Africa, Palestine, Pakistan or India – or anywhere else, your help can change a life. Change one life and you can impact hundreds. Studies have shown that when you educate the women in a village the infant and child mortality rates drop drastically.

Find women owned, women run micro businesses in impoverished countries and sponsor them. A little help goes an incredibly long way.

Refuse To Engage In Gossip.

Men seldom gossip. Gossip is mostly about women demeaning other women. When you refuse to partake in gossip you begin to elevate all the women.

How To Empower Women

March.

March for the causes you care about. March for pro life or march for women’s rights. March for the female causes you support and believe in. March for gun control, march to further causes that involve women’s rights. Whatever beliefs you hold, get out there and march with other women supporting that belief. The way to have our voices heard is to stand up and be counted. March/walk/run for breast cancer. There is power in numbers.

Be Supportive.

Be kind to other women. Be supportive to other women. Encourage those that are working toward a better life. When women are supportive instead of demeaning or dismissive they empower all women.

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Stop Competing With Other Women.

Life is not a competition. Be happy for the success of others and work on your own success. Don’t judge other women, don’t be bitter, don’t compete.

Support Women Owned, Women Run Businesses.

Make a conscious choice to support women owned businesses. Choose fair trade every time the option presents itself. Buy from brands that create opportunity for impoverished women.

Refuse To Buy From Sweatshop Brands.

Flat out refuse to buy from brands that make the choice to use unaudited sweatshop factories such as those in Bangladesh. Money talks – if brands suffer financially from using sweatshop factories that further abuse the world’s most impoverished women, then they will be forced to raise their standards. Your purchasing dollars are the only way to make a change.

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Vote.

Know that you are lucky to live in a place where as a woman you have the right to vote. Your vote does count, so make sure you exercise that right at every election. Do your homework and make sure you do not support someone who wants to take away women’s rights. The way to create a better world for women and to empower women is to vote.

“I raise up my voice—not so I can shout, but so that those without a voice can be heard…we cannot succeed when half of us are held back.” ―Malala Yousafzai

How To Build self Respect

The most important thing a girl can have is self respect. When you treat yourself with respect others will view you and treat you accordlingly. A girl who respects herself is an ideal employee, friend and companion. You deserve all the great things that life has to offer, and that starts with treating yourself with respect.

10 Ways To Build Your Self Respect.

Learn To Say No.

This applies to every aspect of your life. Anything, and I do mean anything you don’t feel comfortable with, say No. If someone wants you to do something that you don’t want to do, say No. Don’t give up your personal time to make someone else happy – if you don’t want to go to lunch or to the movies or to the mall, just say No. When you feel like someone is taking advantage of you don’t grin and bear it. Say No.

Set Boundaries.

When you are clear with yourself what your boundaries are it becomes easy to enforce them. Set boundaries that don’t let others steal your time. Set boundaries that rule how people can and cannot speak to you. Set boundaries about physical violence and verbal violence – neither are ever okay.

Set boundaries about how much overtime you will do at work. Set boundaries that you won’t answer the phone at dinner, or respond to texts during movies. Set boundaries about how late or how early others can call you.

Having a clearly defined set of boundaries is a crucial foundation in building self respect. Quietly and calmly enforcing the boundaries you have set is a sign that you are worthy and that you have a solid sense of self respect.

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Podcasts and Books.

Feed your mind with quality information. Don’t waste your life on reality TV – listen to podcasts on subjects that interest you. Read books on a variety of subjects including guides to self empowerment, to help you stay on track. The more you fill your mind with quality information the better you will feel about yourself.

Choose Who You Allow Around You.

Be very discerning about who you let around you. Don’t hang out with negative people, people who treat you unkindly, or people heading down a bad path. Instead surround yourself with positive, kind people who treat you well and are heading in a positive direction.

Treat People Kindly.

Self respect is equal parts how you treat yourself and how you treat others. Be kind. It’s easy, it feels good and it makes those around you feel good. Like attracts like, so if you are kind to others you will attract kind people to you. Treat yourself kindly too. Learn to only say nice words to yourself about yourself.

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Acknowledge your strengths.

Self respect means knowing what you are good at and acknowledging those strengths to yourself. You don’t need to broadcast them to the world – others will see for themselves. No one is good at everything, so rather than focusing on the things you are not so good at, and beating yourself up over them, put them in context and pair them with strengths. Maybe you can’t run a 3 minute mile but you are really good at conjugating verbs in another language, or baking pies or calming distressed animals. Know what you are good at and embrace those things.

Pursue Hobbies.

Get some hobbies and pursue them. Hobbies are a way to devote quality time to something you enjoy, which is a sign of self respect in itself! Blocking off time for yourself to do things that you really enjoy is a way of showing the world that you respect yourself.

Dress With Self Respect/Dress For You.

Only ever dress for yourself. Don’t dress to try and get a guy’s attention or to make him like you. The way you dress and the way you present yourself send out a thousand silent messages that in turn tell others how to treat you and what to think of you. Are you sending out a message that says you are willing, ready and able? Are you giving a message that says you can be compromised? Or are you telling the world that you are comfortable in your own skin and know what you’ve got, but only the chosen get to see it? Dress yourself with respect.

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Set Standards.

Raise the bar high! Set high standards for yourself and for everything in your life, and then work to achieve and maintain those standards. Set standards for behavior you will accept in others and in yourself. You will be amazed at how many people will raise themselves up to meet you, and in the process the ones that were dragging you down will drop away. The ultimate sign of healthy self respect is holding yourself to a high standard.

Do not engage in gossip.

Gossiping is the opposite of holding yourself to a high standard. Gossip is about making yourself feel good by demeaning another person. If you have self respect or if you are building your self respect, excuse yourself from any conversation that involves gossip. In fact, make a habit of shutting down any conversation that involves gossiping about other people.

 

She remembered who she was and the game changed” Lalah Deliah

image from Luca Magazine, photographed by Brad Olson

International Women’s Day is March 8th, so here on the blog I’m spending the week celebrating the empowerment of women. Yesterday it was 10 Ways To Boost Your Self Confidence, today I have 10 powerful tools to help you beat stress in your life.

Stress is an energy vampire. It sucks the life right out of the joy you are supposed to be living. We all face stressful situations in our lives, no one is immune. In life there will always be another bump in the road ahead, so we might as well build our skill set to manage it.

The situation we face is not the issue, the issue is how we react to, process and deal with the situation. Beating stress, getting out in front of stress, comes down to having the right tools up your sleeve.

 10 Powerful Ways To Totally Beat Stress

Breathe.

When you find yourself in a stressful situation use your breath to calm yourself. Breathe in through your nose to a count of 10, hold it for a count of 10, blow it back out to a count of 10. Your body can’t focus on being stressed and deep breathing at the same time!

Do Yoga.

If you start your day with sun salutations you set up your whole day to function with balance and calm.

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Take a Walk.

Unplug your devices, turn off your phone, clear your mind and take a walk in the park. When you step outdoors and create a space in your mind the Universe will race to fill it with something, most often the solution to your problem!

Meditate.

You don’t have to sit on the floor with crossed legs and palms pressed together – you can meditate any way that works for you. Even if you just meditate 10 minutes per day you will change your life for the better and gain the mental strength to calm your thoughts in moments of stress.

 

 Focus on the funny.

You can’t be busting out laughing and be stressed at the same time. Your brain will make you pick just one, so choose the funny! Think about the most hilarious moments in the funniest movies you’ve ever seen and let your laughter lighten the moment.

You Are What You Eat.

Processed foods, sodas, sugars and alcohol all make stress worse. Eating healthy foods, drinking lots of water and avoiding all the bad stuff can help you get through life’s stressful moments

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Sleep.

Lack of sleep not only makes coping with stress more difficult but can also be a stress trigger. Make sleep a priority in your life and try to get 7 to 8 hours sleep per night.

Listen To Podcasts/Ted Talks

You get to choose what you fill your mind with when you are commuting to work, working out, walking the dog or going about your life, so fill it with something good! Listen to empowering podcasts and Ted Talks, and hear the stories of regular people who have overcome all kinds of obstacles and gone on to do great things. If you keep your mind inspired it will naturally seek out solutions and spend less time on stressing.

Use The 5 Year Rule.

Stress makes us lose perspective. In the moment it can feel cataclysmic, but in reality most of it is just a waste of energy and time. As you face a stressful situation ask yourself if this will matter in five years’ time. Will you care about this five years from now? Probably not. Try to remember things that stressed you out 5 years ago – most, if not all of them will seem like a complete waste of time and energy now.

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The Mantra I AM.

Everyone needs a mantra, a series of words to string together and repeat over and over as we breathe our way out of stress, quiet our minds and deal with the situation at hand. The most empowering words you can use are the very simple but very true I. Am. Because You Are.

All images courtesy of Blake Bonillas, www.blakebonillas.com